NEWINGHAM, JAMES ALTON
Name: James Alton Newingham Rank/Branch: U.S. Civilian Unit: Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Date of Loss: 08 February 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 104936N 1065628E (YS126965) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Auto Other Personnel In Incident: John J. Fritz (released); Tanos E. Kalil (captured)
REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY PRG
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2008.
SYNOPSIS: Tanos E. Kalil, John J. Fritz and James A. Newingham were three U.S. civilians captured by Viet Cong forces on February 8, 1969 in Bien Hoa Province, South Vietnam. The three were held together as captives.
Two years into his captivity, Newingham's family was told he had died.
In 1973 Operation Homecoming occurred and 591 Americans were released by the Vietnamese. Two of those lucky Americans were John Fritz and James Newingham. John Fritz told of having been tortured and repeatedly thrown in a pit with snakes and scorpions. Being held in South Vietnam and Cambodia had its own horrors. Fritz and Newingham were lucky to be alive.
The two also told of Tanos Kalil's fate. In April 1969, they reported, Kalil fell ill with kidney problems. Because of poor medical attention and even poorer diet, the illness grew more serious and he ultimately died in June 1969 and was buried near camp.
The Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) listed Tanos Kalil as a prisoner who had died while in captivity. They did not return his remains to U.S. control. For over 20 years, the U.S. has been unable to bargain for even those Americans known to have been held captive and now are deceased. Many consider this an outrage.
Even more outrageous, certainly, is the mounting evidence that hundreds of Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. While Vietnam and the U.S. hold talks which focus on the only remaining barrier to normalized relations being Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, families of the nearly 2500 missing men stand by in helpless horror.
James "Rowdy" Newingham resides in Texas. In 2008, he mentioned that he was the only survivor of this incident. John J. Fritz was released but passed away in New Jersey 03/15/2001, Tanos E. Kalil did not survive captivity.